According to a recent Harvard study, Forsyth County is one of the worst places in the United States to be born poor. Every year a poor child lives in Forsyth, his or her average adult income falls by a significant margin, making Forsyth County the most detrimental county to upward mobility in the nation (excluding Indian Reservations).1 Such a lack of upward mobility in Forsyth results not only in inequality of well being and outcome, but in equality of opportunity itself.
We exist to champion equality of opportunity by providing the highest quality education to the least fortunate children of Winston-Salem. Through excellent college preparatory programs, full tuition college scholarships, and long term investment in entire families, we are providing vulnerable children in our city a preferential option in education.
The Piedmont Renewal Network is partnering with low socioeconomic status schools in Winston-Salem, with the commitment of awarding full tuition scholarships from local universities to students who successfully complete a seven year selected academic preparatory program (beginning in 6th grade) and meet the universities' academic standards for enrollment. We will look to cultivate long-term relationships with students and their families, providing academic mentoring in math, language arts, and science. This support is designed to raise student GPAs, prepare them to excel on standardized tests, and ultimately lead to tuition free education at local partner universities.
The Piedmont Renewal Network has already established a partnership with Piedmont International University, which has generously agreed to provide full tuition scholarships to the first cohort of students who successfully complete the Piedmont Renewal Network's college preparatory program (for full details, see College Lift Initiative).
We believe that such extensive, targeted action is the only way to turn up the dial of upward mobility in Winston-Salem. By equipping the least fortunate students in our city for college both academically and financially, we will prepare the next generation in Winston-Salem for the jobs of tomorrow, lifting them out of the mire of immobility.
We envision a future in which effort and giftedness, not ethnicity and economic background, form the destinies of children born in Winston-Salem.
1 Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren. “Data from Chetty and Hendren (2015): Causal Effects, Mobility Estimates and Covariates by County, CZ and Birth Cohort.” Equality of Opportunity, Harvard University. 2015, http://www.equality-of-opportunity.org/index.php/data.